First floating wind turbine in Iberia will operate off the Portuguese coast

The Portuguese power company, EDP, is at the helm of an offshore wind project in the north of Portugal, which could be completed within the next six months. According to sources close to EDP, the project includes the installation of a prototype floating wind turbine to be located in waters off Aguçadoura, in the north of the country. The prototype will have a capacity of five megawatts. It is then envisaged that a further five machines will be installed during a second, pre-commercial phase of the project.

The floating technology, which has been patented under the name of WindFloat, belongs to the American engineering firm, Principal Power. It consists of a triangular floating structure lying flush with the surface of the sea. A submerged floating column is located under each vertex of the triangle, which will provide stability to the structure and will be anchored to the seabed. A wind turbine tower will then be erected on each of the three points, while a series of water displacement systems will be employed to help maintain stability.

For now, the cost of installing the prototype stands at approximately €4.3 million per megawatt installed. The main idea for the floating structure comes from research in the oil and gas industry. Several projects of this kind are currently in the pipeline around the world. One of the most advanced, Emerge, is an initiative being led by Spain’s Iberdrola, with the participation of technologist, Alstom Wind, the French multinational’s wind division headquartered in Barcelona. Iberdrola also aims to launch its first prototype in 2011, but does not specify when.

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